‘RADICAL ALTERNATIVES TO PRISONS’ (RAP).

Were critical of punitive responses issues of inequalities, they felt strongly that punishment/prison was an inadequate method of achieving behaviour change.  RAP convened a conference on women in prison. From this meeting a campaign was organised against the rebuilding of Holloway women's prison as a secure hospital which would have minimal custodial facilities. There were demonstrations and exhibitions and a pamphlet, Alternatives to Holloway, was published in May 1972. The pamphlet pointed to the facts of female crime and argued that too many women were remanded unnecessarily in custody, that many offences could be dealt with by other means, and that women should not be imprisoned for offences such as alcoholism, child cruelty and petty theft. Instead, RAP suggested that community-based projects should be introduced which would 'make prison for women seem irrelevant'. The new Holloway was a £6 million 'folly' which would detain women 'unnecessarily labelled as criminal and then treat them in an institutional setting which was almost bound to fail' (Ryan, 1978, pp. 102- 5)”. While the campaign was not successful it did significantly raise the profile of the treatment of women in prison over the next fifteen years and where a proliferation of academic work on the topic emerged, which eventually contributed to conditions improving.

Reclaim Holloway, a campaign group with Intersectional Feminist. Abolitionist, Anti Carceral principles and are calling for the Public Land that Holloway is built on to be used to built community solutions that would reduce the use of incarceration. They are campaigning against the Ministry of Justices desire to sell the land at the highest value to public new prisons further way. 

Over 40 years later Reclaim Holloway are suggesting similar solutions to Radical Alternatives to Prison, social housing, a Women's Building, and that money is not pumped into building prisons.

Holloway's heritage has shown us that the 'old for new' prison building project has already been tried and tested and failed. Why repeat the mistakes of the past, when we have a moment in time to take a different road. 

You can follow Reclaim Holloway on twitter at @reclaimholloway or visit the campaign website

Sim, J. (2017). The abolitionist approach: a British perspective (Part One of Two). [online] Nomoreprison.blogspot.co.uk. Available at: http://nomoreprison.blogspot.co.uk/2010/06/abolitionistapproach-british.html [Accessed 7 Jun. 2017].